Former Spurs manager Nuno Espirito Santo returns to dugout with Saudi Arabia's Al Ittihad

Portuguese, who was sacked in October following 17 matches, joins Jeddah side on contract to 2024

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Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Nuno Espirito Santo has described his return to management with Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad as “an honour” after he was confirmed as the club’s new head coach late on Monday.

The Portuguese, who was dismissed as Spurs manager last November following five months in charge, joins the Jeddah side on a contract through to 2024. He replaces in the dugout Romanian Cosmin Contra.

In a short video message on the club’s official Twitter account, Nuno said: “It’s an honour for me to join the greatest club in Saudi Arabia, Ittihad. See you soon.”

Eight-time Saudi champions, Ittihad went agonisingly close last month to a first top-flight title since 2009 only to lose out on the season’s final day to Riyadh rivals Al Hilal. The current Asian champions eventually sealed the trophy by two points.

Nuno, 48, returns to management after his brief spell with Spurs ended following the team’s 3-0 league defeat at home to Manchester United on October 30 - his 17th match in charge. At the time, the capital club were eighth in the table.

The former Valencia and Porto manager had previously enjoyed a hugely successful four years at Wolverhampton Wanderers, headlined by successive seventh-place finishes in the Premier League having initially guided the English side to promotion to the top tier.

He replaced compatriot Jose Mourinho as Spurs’ permanent manager in June last year, but could not capitalise on a promising start. In the end, his record at the North London club read: nine wins, seven defeats and one draw. In the league, Spurs had won five and lost five.

Meanwhile, Contra had last week suggested he would remain at Ittihad despite the Saudi Pro League heartache, tweeting: “Hello, Al Ittihad fans: first of all I want to apologise because we failed you at the last moment and although we did our best we did not live up to your greatness. Great champions also rise from tough defeats and learn from mistakes.

“Next season Al Ittihad will come back stronger to achieve the title that you have been waiting for so long. Thank you very much for your support during this season.”

Updated: July 05, 2022, 10:42 AM